Just like Friday night, the Cubs looked like dead dogs through eight innings last night. Then four consecutive hits, highlighted by a Jason Heyward three-run shot and a solo chaser from Ildemaro Vargas, made Josh Hader look more foolish than he’s already capable of doing all on his own. That was a huge win, now we just hope it sparks something bigger.
David Ross is resting Kris Bryant, who was held hitless in Saturday’s game. Ian Happ leads off today and he’s followed by Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras playing DH, Kyle Schwarber in LF, Javier Baez, and Jason Heyward. Jason Kipnis, Victor Caratini and David Bote round out the Cubs’ lineup.
Alec Mills looked great in his last start and he was cruising through the early innings of his start against Milwaukee a month ago. Then he left a changeup floating for Christian Yelich and the game changed in an instant. Mills is excellent when he’s pitching mistake-free, so it’s just a matter of limiting those little hiccups.
Going for the Brewers is 27-year-old righty Adrian Houser, who had a relatively rocky outing at Wrigley the day after Mills’ aforementioned stumble. His strikeout numbers remain way down over last season, with a 6.75 K/9 that is almost three fewer than in 2019. Also down is Houser’s velocity, nearly a full tick on almost all of his pitches. That hasn’t hurt his sinker, which he’s used to generate grounders at a 63% clip so far.
Houser’s really pitched well against righties, limiting them to a .200 average and .563 OPS, though those respective numbers were at .136 average and .422 OPS when he last faced the Cubs. Lefties were posting .257 and .779 at that early juncture, but are now way up at .358 and 1.003 after absolutely raking against him the last few games.
Houser has given up at least three earned runs in his last six starts, at least four earned runs in five of those games, and five earned runs in each of the last two. In other words, dude is throwing a lot of hittable pitches and the Cubs have to take advantage.
First pitch is at 1:10pm CT on Marquee Sports Network, TBS, and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 13, 2020